Do you have a blogging schedule?
I don’t mean keeping track of when posts are going to be published – that’s an editorial calendar and a totally different thing. The two terms are often used interchangeably but have little in common.
Aside from hitting publish, what other work goes into your blog? Social media posting, reviewing, cross-posting, browsing NetGalley, contacting authors, and more. That’s all a part of blogging, as well, and should be included in your blogging schedule.
It depends on what kind of posts you write and how you divide your time, but some items you might include are:
- Editorial calendar – yes, you do need some sort of document that tells you what you’re posting and when.
- Writing time – these will be blocks of time on your schedule devoted to outlining, drafting, writing, and formatting posts.
- Social media – scheduling posts, interacting with your audience, and networking.
- Analytics – take a look at Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and anywhere else you collect data from.
- Email – going through your inbox, signing up for ARCs through PR company mailing lists, and reading author newsletters.
- Maintaining your site – cleaning up your sidebar, optimize your blog for email marketing, updating your archive pages (if they don’t auto-update), add new pages, improve your SEO, clean up your tags and categories, etc. Basically, all the blog admin stuff.
- Author outreach – browsing NetGalley and Edelweiss, signing up for ARCs and blog tours, emailing and/or requesting from authors, their PAs, or their publicists and publishers.
- Cross-posting – making sure all your book reviews are on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, etc.
And that’s just me. You might have other things like meeting with your co-bloggers, coordinating giveaways, or putting together events.
Step 2: Create Your Schedule
Now comes the part where you really start planning things out.
- First of all, decide when you’re going to work. This doesn’t need to be as detailed as, “Find new books on NetGalley from 7:30 – 8:00 p.m every Friday.” For me, it’s “Browse ARC sites on Saturdays,” and “Check sale websites on Sundays.”
- Time your tasks. Your schedule won’t be manageable if you don’t know how long certain things take. Your first schedule needs to be tested to make sure it’s manageable. I used a timer for a few weeks until I got a good picture of how long basic tasks like formatting reviews, writing reviews, and more took. Then I moved some things around on the schedule so tasks were more evenly distributed throughout the week.
- Create a recurring calendar. You can either buy a paper calendar and write in these scheduled tasks on their assigned days, or go digital. I like managing these types of recurring tasks on a project manager. Recently I’ve been using Todoist. It allows you to set up recurring tasks so “Check Goodreads First Reads” automatically gets added every Sunday. In the image below, any task with the little arrow circle by the date is a recurring, scheduled blogging task.
Step 3: Stick to Your Schedule
So, technically this part takes place in the future instead of during this Bloggiesta, but is still important to mention. Once you create your schedule, it won’t do any good unless you stick to it.
How can you make sure not to slack?
- Schedule time in your calendar or planner.
- Prioritize blogging.
- Use a to-do list or task manager (I recommend making sure it has recurring tasks, for easier planning).
Tip: Always Be Adjusting
Don’t forget to adjust your schedule as needed. You might start writing longer or shorter reviews. Or you’ve gotten better at formatting post and it no longer tasks as long.
Your schedule might need to change now and then, and it’s important not to let your workflow get stale. For a long while, I only used NetGalley for requesting ARCs. When I did start to make more of an effort to use Edelweiss, I didn’t have it in my task manager or on my to-do list. Because of that, I kept forgetting to check it when I was in “ARC mode.”
If you need to allot a different amount of time for something, or to add or remove a certain task, make sure to “put it in writing” to hold yourself accountable for completing it.
Do you have a blogging schedule? If you do, awesome! If you don’t this challenge will absolutely make you a more productive blogger. Outline how your schedule might pan out in the comments!